by Phyllis Kilbourn, editor
In this volume, ten contributors inform and involve us in the tragedy of HIV/AIDS impact on children.
MARC, 800 West Chestnut Avenue, Monrovia, CA, 2002, 206 pages, $23.95.
—Reviewed by Lisa M. Sinclair, family nurse practitioner, United World Mission, Mali, West Africa.
Phyllis Kilbourn again draws us to places we would rather avoid. Yet she pulls us past appalling statistics and denial to Christ’s heart for children. In this volume, ten contributors inform and involve us in the tragedy of HIV/AIDS impact on children. The goal of this compilation is not intellectual enrichment, but personal engagement.
The book is divided into six parts. Part I provides an excellent, useful overview of HIV/AIDS worldwide. Factors promoting the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS are examined. The pervasive impact of this disease complex on children is described. The biblical basis of compassionate care is explored. Part II includes a mother’s account of her extraordinary, articulate daughter’s faith-walk with AIDS. This child’s pilgrimage poems form the conclusion in Part VI. From this window into personal courage and loss, we turn to a community-based action project from Zambia, where the greatest percentage of AIDS orphaned children lives. Lessons learned through the project provide valuable guidelines applicable to any cultural setting. Part III gives practical interventions—on emotional growth and development, the relational needs of children and the healing role of appropriate touch and play. We are challenged that if “it was not below Christ to enter our sinful world, it should not be below us to enter into the fearful and lonely world of the HIV-infected child” (p. 72). Practical, contextualized helps are provided in caring for grieving, traumatized children. Part IV uses a community-based orphan care program from Zimbabwe as a paradigm of practical care. Broader intervention concerns are addressed and an excellent summary of the basics of community education is provided. Part V addresses the crucial area of caregiver stress and burnout.
The book is at its best and most original as authors from medical, psychological, educational and spiritual disciplines explore the impact of HIV/AIDS on children. Childhood, family, stability and future are destroyed by this pandemic. In their place is left a legacy of isolation, loss, grief and multidimensional suffering and trauma. The journey into the child’s world of HIV/AIDS will require much more than this book can give us. Somewhat uneven in coverage and depth, and lacking in a non-Western counseling perspective on grief and compassionate caring, this book provides an essential basis for a ministry thrust upon us by world need and our Lord’s call. We are instructed in basics and pointed to resources. Most importantly, we are beckoned to take the first step.
Check these titles:
Hunter, Susan and John William-son. 2000. Children on the Brink: Strategies to Support Children Isolated by HIV/AIDS. Washington, D.C.: USAID.
Kilbourn Phyllis, ed. 1996. Children in Crisis: A New Community. Monrovia, Calif.: MARC.
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